The Hook For Your Book

When someone asks you,“what’s your story about?”, they’re really asking you for the hook. Why is your story interesting and why should they bother reading it. The same goes for Literary Agents. They’re not just looking for a good story. They’re looking for a great story with a great hook. It’s important to know this because this is what helps them determine if your book will sell.

So what is a hook? A hook is like a logline, it’s what describes your book and what leaves Agents and readers wanting more. It’s what piques their interest and makes them want to read your book NOW.

Regardless if it’s fiction or non-fiction, think about how you would describe your book in a few lines while you’re in an elevator. You only have a minute or less to “hook” the reader and grab their attention. This is a great exercise especially if you plan on attending a Writers Conference. It’s guaranteed that the most popular question you’ll get is, “what’s your book about?” This is where your hook or elevator pitch comes in handy. You never know who you’ll meet, so make sure you come prepared.

Here’s a helpful link if you’d like to learn more about how to write a hook for your book:

Good luck!

First Drafts

First drafts can be tricky and overwhelming, but they can also be exciting and magical. It’s the first time you get to see your story unfold even though it may not be exactly how it’s going to be after it’s edited, but it’s what gets you started. And that alone is the most important thing.

Sure there will be days when you can’t even finish a sentence or you end up staring at a blank page all day, but it will get better. If we stay dedicated to our craft and our passion of writing, we will get it done. Don’t worry about perfecting it on the first try (I’m guilty for trying this) because after all, it is the first draft.

Here’s a good read on first drafts. It’s taken from Anne Lamott’s book called Bird by Bird. She talks about writing those “shitty first drafts”.

So about 69 days ago, I set a goal of writing the first draft to my second novel in 100 days. I knew it was going to be challenging because I was having some health issues, but that was part of the challenge. I love writing and it was the distraction I needed away from my illness. Unfortunately, in the end, the illness distracted me from my writing. The good news is I feel better now. But now I have about 31 days left to finish my draft and I’m not even halfway done. I think it’s safe to say I could be a little crazy for even trying to pursue this, but sometimes we all need a little crazy to get things done.

Yikes. Wish me luck.

Literary Agents

I have always been curious about how writers get their books published. What process did they go through and how long did it take them?

Nicholas Sparks shares how he found his Literary Agent in his website. I love reading about his experience because he makes it sound so easy. Attached is a link to his site.

How did you find your Literary Agent? How did you get published? Are you still looking for an Agent? What has your experience been like so far?

Of course everyone has a different experience. I’m still going through mine. I’ve written a book that I love, have sent out queries, attended a Writers Conference, pitched my book and luckily got a few requests for my manuscript, but yet I’m not quite done. I am constantly trying to build my platform however way I can. Despite distractions and life’s challenges, I never stop writing.

In the perfect world, I would be writing every day—sipping espressos, sitting outside cafes with nothing but my laptop and a plethora of inspiration around me. But reality is different. I have chores and responsibilities like the rest of us. But I try. I try my best to write as if I was in a café… in Paris, people watching, when I’m really sitting on the couch watching my 2-year old daughter who I love dearly. Besides, isn’t that what writing is for? It’s for creating different scenes at different times based on your imagination. I like creating, that’s why I chose to write fiction. I prefer to write in a café in Paris on a beautiful spring day. I think I’ll stick to that for now and let my imagination run wild.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The answer always varies. It all depends on what you’re writing, your commitment to writing and a lot of other things.

My first novel took a few years to write, for many different reasons. After I came up with the idea, I started writing it little by little. The original version was actually a novella. I sent out queries to Literary Agents and got the attention of one in L.A., who requested for my full manuscript. About a month after I sent it out, I received a letter from the agent saying how much she loved the story and the characters, but unfortunately, there is no market for novellas.

I was thankful she gave me as much feedback as she did because that pushed me to rewrite my book and turn it into a novel. It took me a while to do it because of many distractions. Through it all, I squeezed in a few months here and there and did what I could to finish writing it. The whole process was stressful, fun and challenging. It taught me a lot about being a better writer. As I rewrote it, I realized how much more I had to say. There were more dialogues to be said and more chapters to be written. It felt more complete when I was done. My book was never meant to be a novella, it was always meant to be a novel.

In anything we do, there will always be distractions. The key is to not be distracted. Live life and party, but make time to work towards our goals. It’s easy to make excuses, but it won’t get us anywhere.

On that note, I’m challenging myself. I will make a commitment and write the first draft of my next book in 100 days. I’m not doing it to rush it. I’m simply setting a deadline—something I didn’t do last time.

Follow my blogs and I’ll take you through the writing process of my next novel.


Chick Lit or Upbeat Women’s Fiction?

As a writer, one of the questions I get a lot is, “What’s your genre?”

I actually wrote my first book with no genre in mind. All I knew was I wanted to write fiction. I created my story the way I felt I should—using my own style and voice. While researching on Literary Agents and query letters, I realized I needed to figure out what specific genre I belonged to, as each agent specializes in different ones. The last thing I want is to send queries out to agents who can’t represent me.

After studying the different kinds of genres and subgenres, I came up with the conclusion that my book belonged to Women’s Fiction, specifically Chick Lit.

So before attending the Writers Conference in February, I took a closer look at chick lit novels. According to what I dug up, it continues to have a pretty big market. Sure, there is a lot of competition, but I was happy to know my book belonged to a pretty successful subgenre. I went ahead and had my business cards printed with chick lit under my name. I was ready to go.

At the conference, as expected, I was asked about what genre I wrote. I’m glad I did my homework. When I asked the same question to my fellow writers, there were quite a few who didn’t know what genre their book belonged to. Not surprising, because based on my experience, it can be pretty tricky.

Just when I was getting comfortable telling people about my book and genre, I met an Agent who gave me some not-so-good-news. After pitching my story, she politely tells me the publishing world is phasing out chick lit. My heart sunk. Crap. Really? What do I do now? Do I rewrite my story? What about all my business cards? Fortunately, she liked my pitch and asked for the first 50 pages. Whew.

Coincidentally, the next session I attended was about women’s fiction. During the session, I asked:
“I was just told chick lit is being phased out. If my book belonged to this subgenre, what should I call it now? Just women’s fiction?”

After nodding her head, the speaker on stage replied, “Yes. Just call it women’s fiction.”

I sat back down, not quite satisfied with the answer. Women’s fiction is so broad. The one thing that makes chick lit so different from other women’s fiction is its fun tone. Simply saying my book belongs to women’s fiction didn’t seem right to me.

During another session, I sat with 2 Literary Agents who gave me a slightly different answer. After telling them about my novel and my genre dilemma, they told me to categorize my book as an upbeat women’s fiction. Interestingly enough, one of the agents expressed her feelings about how chick lit should remain being called chick lit, especially if books like these still exist.

So is chick lit really dying? I did a quick search on and and typed chick lit. A bunch of titles came up. Next, I checked google and found a plethora of sites that reviewed and talked about chick lit.

I guess it all depends on who you talk to. To some, chick lit has been successful and over published the past few years and is now taking a backseat. But to others, it’s still very much alive. If there is still a market for it, why get rid of it?

Chick lit or upbeat women’s fiction? What do you think?

Getting published…

So you have an idea for a book. You fill sheets of paper with random notes about what it will be about. The dialogue. The characters. The story. Your thoughts start piling up in your head and you finally begin to write. You do what it takes to get your words down, so you type, type, type. Each word carefully picked and combined to make a sentence, a paragraph—used to describe a feeling, a scene, a dialogue and a character. Chapter by chapter, you lay out your story. You wake up early and stay up late. Before you know it, you actually finished your novel…or so you think. So you read it over and over and realize that you want to add something, or take something out and possibly even rewrite it. So you do. And then you find yourself doing this fifty more times. Days, weeks, months, even years later, you finally feel it’s done and you’re ready to get your book published. Your precious creation is ready to be released into the world for all to see.

But wait…there’s more. As if writing your novel wasn’t hard enough, now you realize you need a Literary Agent. So you spend a lot of time researching on how to get one and then you’re quickly introduced to the Query Letter. The special tool that gets you discovered. You read hundreds of samples of successful queries, trying to figure out how to perfect yours. You eventually get started and write one. You read it over and over and realize that you want to add something, or take something out and possibly even rewrite it. So you do. And then you find yourself doing this fifty more times. Hours, days, weeks, even months later, and you’re finally ready to send it out. You carefully edit your query letter one last time and mail it via snail mail or email, along with a prayer.

Nervous and anxious, you wait to get a reply, but understand it may take days, weeks, even months to get one. And it might not even be a yes. But you wait anyway, and check your mailbox or inbox twenty times a day. And then you finally receive a reply! You can’t believe it. You’re so excited. With your heart pounding, your hands sweating, you take a deep breath and read the letter…it happens to be a rejection. Aaaahhh! You feel like someone just punched you on the chest, stepped all over your dream and crushed it. You feel insulted and even embarrassed. You may curse, scream, cry or even want to give up. Or you can just snap out of it and simply accept the rejection for what it is, and admit that your chest was untouched, your dream is still alive and no one insulted you. The agent is not in charge of your destiny. You are. So you move on and mail out a few more query letters and know that sooner or later, the right agent will believe in your book, just as much as you do.

Sure, it will be the beginning of another long process because there will be more writing and editing to come. It may take days, weeks, or even months before it actually gets published, but it will happen.

We write because we love to. We do it because it’s our form of expression, our release, and our passion. We write for those who appreciate and understand us. And regardless of the many rejections we may or may not get, we will always be writers and no one can ever take that away from us.

Getting published may be a long process, but just like writing a book, it’s all worth it in the end.

Why I write fiction

I met a biographer at the Writers Conference who asked me what genre I wrote. I proudly said women’s fiction. With a wondering look, he said, “I don’t know how people can write fiction. As a biographer, everything is already there, the character and the story. I don’t know how fiction writers come up with their stories.”

I quickly replied, “I write fiction because it’s liberating. To have the power to create your own characters, your own dialogue, your own story is just an amazing experience.”

He simply shrugged his shoulders.

They say to write fiction, you need to experience life, and I agree. But I believe you also have to have a creative imagination. For me, writing fiction is like traveling. After coming up with the idea of where to go, I research on the culture, the food, the language and the people and then I take the trip. And while I’m there, I explore and make it one big adventure.

Fiction can be anything you want it to be. So go crazy.

Why it is right to write

I just finished attending the 3-day San Francisco Writers Conference. It was amazing. Everything was very organized and the sessions I attended were well presented and definitely worth going to. It felt great being surrounded by people who do what I do and dream what I dream. I met a bunch of fiction and non-fiction writers. Some published and some unpublished. Everyone seemed really friendly and eager to tell their story.

I had the pleasure of meeting a few literary agents and editors who I learned a lot from. This experience made me realize why I love what I do and why I was meant to write.

Here’s to writing more books.



I can’t believe it. The Writers Conference is tomorrow! I’ve spent the last few weeks, reading, editing and writing. I wonder if I’ll sleep tonight. I’m just too excited. Time to go through my checklist.

It may be raining right now, but the sun will come out tomorrow.


Hi. I’m Corey M. P. Welcome to my website. I write upbeat women’s fiction. I just finished my first novel, which I’m so thrilled about. I’m getting ready to attend my first Writers Conference in a few weeks and I’m extremely excited about it. Looking forward to learning a bunch of new things and meeting some awesome people.